del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Red List criteria met
Red List history
IUCN Red list criteria met and history
||not a migrant
|Land mass type
Extent of occurrence (EOO)
Population justification: Prior to 2017, when Hurricane Maria hit Dominica, the population was estimated to number 250-350 individuals in total, roughly equivalent to 160-240 mature individuals (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012). Since Maria, the population has not been quantified due to the inaccessibility of the core parts of the range in the interior of the island (C. Palmer in litt. 2019, P. R. Reillo in litt. 2019). However, inferences can be drawn based on the effects of previous hurricanes and on recent sightings of the species. Maria is considered to be the strongest and possibly most destructive hurricane that has hit the island so far. Previously, the most severe storm was Hurricane David in 1979, after which the population of Imperial Amazon plummeted to only 40-60 individuals (Evans 1991, Palmer et al. 2018). Tentatively assuming that the impact of Maria on the population was at least as severe as David, the population size may have decreased to fewer than 40-60 individuals, equating to fewer than about 25-40 mature individuals.This preliminary estimate is supported by field data, reporting only 11 individuals about half a year after Hurricane Maria (Palmer et al. 2018). Further sightings have been reported in the northern part of the range in June 2019 (A. Fairbairn per C. Palmer in litt. 2019). To account for the uncertainty surrounding the current population size, until more recent estimates become available the species is here assumed to number < 50 mature individuals.
Trend justification: Historically, the species was abundant within its small, but relatively inaccessible range in the central highlands of Dominica. Around 1880, the species started to decline rapidly as a consequence of habitat destruction and extensive hunting for food and the cage-bird trade (Collar et al. 2019). Following Hurricane David in 1979, the population decreased to only 25-40 mature individuals (Evans 1991). After that, the population slowly re-built as a consequence of conservation action focusing on the protection of habitat and on environmental education. By 1993, the population numbered 50-70 mature individuals, and increased further to 100 mature individuals in 2000. By 2012, the population was estimated at 160-240 mature individuals. However, since the devastating Hurricane Maria struck Dominica in September 2017, the population crashed again, likely to an all-time low. As the species reproduces slowly, recovering from the effects of Hurricane Maria may take longer than after Hurricane David (C. Palmer in litt. 2019, P. R. Reillo in litt. 2019). The exact impacts of Maria on the habitat availability and the population size of Imperial Amazon are not yet known. However, it is estimated that Maria was the most severe storm that ever hit Dominica, felling 30% of the trees on the island and stripping the remaining 70% of their leaves and fruits (Forestry and Agriculture Department per Palmer et al. 2018). This estimate is supported by Global Forest Watch, which indicates a loss of 24,000 ha of forest, equating to 34%, between 2000 and 2017 (Global Forest Watch 2018). Overall, while Imperial Amazon seems to have the potential to recover after a sharp population decline, as it proved in the aftermath of Hurricane David in 1979, climate change and the subsequent higher frequency of severe storms are of immediate concern. If Dominica was to be struck by other hurricanes in the near future, before the species could recover sufficiently, the risk of extinction would increase drastically (Collar et al. 2019).
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Amazona imperialis. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2020.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2020.